I was driving down I-20 in Monroe Wednesday evening and I turned on the radio (because apparently I’m incapable of travelling in silence*). It was set to 104.1 KJLA – a country station. Since I was in a country kind of mood after having Katie’s country playlist going all night last night (the last night of volleyball…<weep>) I decided I’d keep it there and see what came on.
(* the real reason is that I have a lot of stuff on my mind that I wanted to not actually think about so I needed to distract myself…but I like the above explanation better since I can shy away from responsibility for a brief moment that way)
What came on was Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” which I’d never heard before. A sad song – not exactly the mood I was in, but there was a sad piano at the start (I’m a sucker for the simplicity of a note-by-note piano intro) and the lead singer had a great voice so I decided to listen to it. One line (near the end of the song) caught my attention:
I started pondering it (yes; sometimes I have a difficult time just letting entertainment be entertainment) and realized there’s a lot of truth in that one line.
But is that really true? Would we rather be in pain or be – in the wise words of Pink Floyd – “comfortably numb“? Or take it a step further – how many of us would rather risk pain when we can be comfortably numb?
I should probably apologize for taking a beautiful country song and going all in-depth on it but I started reading “Atlas Shrugged” (by Ayn Rand) which is an absolute masterpiece. I started reading it on the flight to Monroe and I can’t put it down despite the fact I’m not one for the classics (except Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm and 1984).
Anyway, back to the random deep dive.
If you were given the choice to feel pain or not feel anything at all, which would you choose?
Or, said a different way, would you rather have loved and lost (pain) or never have loved at all (nothing)?
Or, perhaps in a more immediately practical sense, would you rather continue to live a mediocre life that promises no pain and, by virtue, no reward or would you rather lay it all on the line and risk immense pain in the search for the greatest reward?
Interesting question, isn’t it? Some, like Sir Richard Branson, might argue there really isn’t a choice to be made; a life without the risk of pain is no life at all. Others would argue that risking pain – especially if the risk or pain is high – is not worth taking the chance on, and “alive and safe” is better than “excited but dead”. And others would argue pain is pleasure…but I’m not going there in this post.
There’s really no right or wrong answer; we may differ on which one is more valuable: safety or excitement. A lot depends on how you were brought up; still more depends on how we’ve chosen to live our lives (and make no mistake – you have chosen the path you live). And as long as you’ve chosen the path consciously it’s all good, whatever direction you head. Only you get to determine which way you go; only you know what’s truly important to you; only you control your life.
But if you haven’t made the decision on which way to go and are letting the wind take you or – in the worst case – know where you want to go but are afraid to take action and instead sit idly by remember the words of Rush: “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.”
So raise a toast and enjoy your life because everything – everything’s – magic (Angels and Airwaves).by